The Uplifting Parents Program through the Catholic Social Services, Rapid City, is now accepting applications.

The program works with single parents who are within two years of finishing college degree work. The program offers funding, along with mentoring and case management, for all of its participants.

“We’re here to support you and help you graduate! Applicants must be referred into our program, so if you believe you’re qualified, please contact your advisor, counselor, or student success coach on campus. Or ask to speak to an Uplifting Parents Program mentor at 605-348-6086, and get connected to a referral person. Applications are being accepted through Oct. 27.

The program was created to empower single parent families by providing resources to support their advancement in education. The goal is to assist lower-income single parents to acquire the education needed to become financially sustainable, and thus provide stability and opportunity for their children. Catholic Social Services (CSS) works with thirty coalition partner agencies in the community to develop the program. Some of the program components are:

• Scholarship funds/stipends

• Program evaluation

• Mentoring & support services

• Parenting classes

• Financial counseling & classes

• Group activities with other participants

• PEER UP Advisory Council

For more information, contact Catholic Social Services at 605-6086 and ask to speak with any of our UP program mentors. General participant qualifications include:

• Single parent seeking advancement in higher education

• Degree completion in 6-24 months

• Currently parenting or expecting

• Must be referred by coalition partners and fill out an application

• Must be self-motivated and interested in strengthening themselves and family

• Must be able to travel to Rapid City for meetings and classes

• Participant must demonstrate a history of stability and potential to follow through with

program requirements

• Not presently struggling with addiction or substance abuse

• Preference given to lower income participants

• May be male or female

• All religious affiliations/denominations welcome

Mentoring services are the heart of the program. Participants are matched with an Uplifting Parents Mentor from Catholic Social Services. The mentor establishes a close relationship with the participant to provide holistic support as they navigate completing their college degree. A major task for the mentor is to help anticipate and intercept potential crises that could derail the participant’s success. The mentor is there for the UP participants through “thick and thin;” it’s the heart of the program and the mentoring services provide the wraparound services that will assist that participant in achieving success.

Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan’s Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) is implementing a

randomized control study on Program UP. There are more applicants to Program UP than the

program can serve, and we want everyone eligible to have a fair chance of being part of the program, so a lottery will be conducted to determine which eligible applicants receive Program UP services. Those not chosen for a spot in Program UP will receive referrals to other community agencies. The purpose of this research is to: 1) Create evidence based results that could be used to inform policy makers, and 2) Create a standardized process so the program can be replicated in other locations.

The John T. Vucurevich Foundation (JTVF) has partnered with Catholic Social Services to provide additional funding for the Uplifting Parents Program. The Uplifting Parents Program’s approach with single parents and their children is a great example of the JTVF cradle to career continuum of success funding strategy. Their generous contribution has helped the significant expansion and success of Program UP!

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